Already her own boss at just 19
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DURBAN - WHILE some of her peers are getting ready to attend university, 19-year-old Siyamthanda Jele from KwaHlabisa in northern KwaZulu-Natal is already her own boss.
Before completing her matric last year at Brettonwood High School, she had already begun researching going into an agricultural business.
At the beginning of April, Jele officially opened her vegetable seedling nursery Okwemvelo Nursery with money that her grandmother Florence Jele had saved for her to attend university.
“I looked at the current situation where young people are unemployed and sitting at home with their qualifications. Even when you are employed there are always chances that you might lose that job. I saw this more when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. And it was during this time people began focusing on growing their own vegetables when they found themselves having to live off a cut salary or being retrenched,” she said.
Jele, whose mother died when she was 2 years old and whose father died when she was 11, was raised by her grandmother in KwaHlabisa.
She said that as children growing up, their grandmother had taught them about planting and growing vegetables.
Jele said her family had lots of land, and while thinking about what to do after matric she had an idea to put it to use.
Jele explained that she had researched her decision before implementing it. She did this while still in Grade 12.
“I was looking into agriculture and what I could do in that field. I was searching on the internet and came across nurseries. And I decided after doing my research that I would go into this after matric. I didn’t just decide overnight, it was a thought process that also involved getting knowledge from my family. My relatives have businesses and are qualified professionals in their own respective fields,” said Jele.
She said she would return to school next year for short courses on agriculture while she continued with her business.
“I’m not saying people must not go to university after matric. I made my decision a long time ago and had done the research. And I was at an advantage where we have land at home,” she said.
Jele said she was proud of the progres her business had made.
“I sell in town as well. There’s a standing nursery at home. Our details are on Facebook and Instagram @OkwemveloNursery. I have been lucky to have had Armsdon Nursery that was started by agripreneur Don Mthembu help me in starting up my business and growing it.”